Over the decades, the role and rights of women have changed considerably, but the one thing that has stayed the same is the sheer number of awe-inspiring women who are challenging norms and shaping the world, daily.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we spoke to some of our team to shine the spotlight on a few of the women who have inspired them.
Elspeth competed a solo trip around the world in the early 1980s on a BMW R60 and was the first woman to do so. Her account of the journey is incredible.
Leonie Watkins, Copywriter
“Katherine Gun - the GCHQ whistleblower who tried to prevent the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She discovered a classified memo between senior figures in the NSA and GCHQ. The request called for monitoring of UN delegates' personal communications, in order to 'give the USA an edge' in leveraging support for the invasion. Katherine was arrested and tried before the case was eventually dropped in 2004.
Another hero of mine is the wonderful Elspeth Beard, whom I've been lucky enough to interview. Elspeth competed a solo trip around the world in the early 1980s on a BMW R60 and was the first woman to do so. Her account of the journey is incredible. Elspeth is an award-winning architect and now lives in a converted water tower in Kent. She still rides her beloved R60."
The sisters used their position in society to secretly organise an underground rebellion and infiltrate political gatherings so they could get closer to the people running the dictatorship.
Dan Spry, Social Media and Content Manager
“I read an amazing story in a book called Brazen: Rebel Ladies that Rocked The World.
The Mirabel Sisters were three Dominican sisters from a middle-class family in the 50s, living under the brutal dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. He was in power 31 years and in that time did a lot of nasty stuff.
The sisters used their position in society to secretly organise an underground rebellion and infiltrate political gatherings so they could get closer to the people running the dictatorship. Eventually, they got caught and were in and out of prison for their activities. The Dominican state murdered all three sisters in one horrific event (made to look like an accident) – which caused such a massive outrage that the rebellion kicked off, leading to the dictator’s own assassination in the 6 months later.
After the transition to democracy in the late 1970’s, the "Butterflies", as Dominicans call the sisters, became symbols of both democratic and feminist resistance. They have a museum in their name, are printed on Dominican money and the UN have used their death day as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.”
Hattie Clarke, Marketing and Brand Manager
“Rosalind Franklin was molecular biologist, chemist and X-ray chrystallographer.
After deciding to become a scientist aged fifteen, Franklin enrolled at a London girls' school that taught physics and chemistry. Despite resistance from her father, who was against women's higher education, she graduated from Cambridge in 1938, before completing her PhD in physical chemistry there in 1945.⠀
Franklin became an expert in X-ray crystallography in Paris, before returning to England in 1951 to work as a research associate at King's College, London. Despite being frequently belittled by male peers, her X-ray photographs of DNA directly influenced Crick and Watson's double helix.
Franklin received some appreciation during her lifetime, but her contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA was only really recognised after her death.”
Franklin received some appreciation during her lifetime, but her contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA was only really recognised after her death.
Rose Tero, Content Producer
“Ever since watching The Post (starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks), I’ve had a huge respect for Katharine Graham, who was the first ever-female CEO of a Fortune 500 company and editor of the Washington Post between 1963 and 1991.
Her autobiography, Personal History, shines a light on the challenges she faced in this time, both in her personal life and working in a male-dominated environment.
I admire her because she was brave enough to expose a massive, three-decade long government cover-up, despite risking her career and freedom, and she kept pushing to be listened to at a time when women generally weren’t. She was fearless and capable and never backed down from a fight that she believed in.”
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(Elspeth Beard, www.elspethbeard.com)
(Rosalind Franklin, King's College London, https://www.kcl.ac.uk/cultural/-/projects/rosalind-franklin)